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We have a notification system for users at poeditor.com that looks like this:

enter image description here

Once the user clicks "Dismiss", the notification is hidden and it doesn't bother the user again until the next notification is activated. We try to limit the number of notifications we set so the users are not annoyed.

The trouble is that the users do not click "Dismiss" and they stay with that notification there, taking up space. The one in the screenshot is not very large, but we've had ones on 5-6 lines that took a lot of the user's space.

Somebody suggested users do not click because they are afraid that they won't receive any more messages. Should we use another term for describing that action? Which?

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8 Answers 8

up vote 21 down vote accepted

How about a simple X? They never imply dismissing all future notifications.
Another option is to specify more: "Dismiss this message"
Plus, you can dismiss a message after a certain amount of time automatically.
Either way, you can have a testing to see how many more / less usage this feature gets with a simple non-blocking ajax call to a dedicated GET server form.

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That's how we found out few people are clicking. We counted how many of them see the message and how many click dismiss. I think we'll replace with "X" for a while to see if the percentage changes and even hide it automatically after a few days. –  Adrian Apr 23 '13 at 10:17

If you're going for pop-up style notifications, you should prefer timed notifications that automatically get dismissed after the time expires.


Alternatively, you can have header-style notifications at the top of the page (demo). The standard practice is to have a simple X ...

enter image description here



...or something a little more informative, like X Close (as seen on CodeCanyon.net).

Notification in header


Since header-style notifications tend to push the body downwards, users will not lose valuable screen space if they do not dismiss the notification -- all they would need to do is scroll down!

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I think the best way is adding a cross [x] that mostly the icon/term to do this. It's very clear and most people know that it only hides the current notification.

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I don't think that using another text will solve the problem. In my experience, in user testing observations, is very frequent that users don't dismiss at all any type of message.

The type of notification used in your screenshot, like some kind of new feature announcement could be redesigned as a modal balloon in the context where the user can use it. This way you are sure that the user sees the new feature, but only when he or she is "close" to using it, with less annoyances, more retention and without permanently taking user space.

Like in Gmail:

New feature in Gmail, described using a balloon on the interface

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I wouldn't use modals unless it's absolutely necessarily, and in this case it's not. Modals are annoying and disruptive and i don't want to do that to my users. –  Adrian Apr 26 '13 at 7:34

Immediately after reading this question and its answers, I went to Code Pen for a completely unrelated reason. And behold, I was presented with this message:

An alert on Code Pen

Code Pen definitely have the right approach: using a tiny X in the corner wouldn't be the best option in my opinion. Instead, use different text such as Close Notification, and make it into a nice big button instead of a tiny link in the corner.

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1  
The text is informative, but I automatically looked to the right for a close button. –  aopsfan Jun 29 '13 at 19:06

If this is more of an information which you expect the user to read to have more information of the event, try putting a OK button.

It completes a statement. You give an info and the user reciprocates that and says OK.

In my designs I try to complete a story for each user action I expect from them. This way they are also aware of what exactly is happening.

If the message is more of a change which can be viewed in separate page, then let the user click on OK and give an option to see the change which is being communicated.

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Github uses an x with the text "hide this broadcast": enter image description here

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I had the necessity of a similar function, to bring to the attention of the user, I went from using the classic "alert pane" to bootstrap alert message used by developers mentioned above.

In the end to my surprise, the best experience was provided by a notification box, just a show() hide() div, with contrasting colors, and a [x] to close it fully, else set timeout to some seconds for the div to close! :)

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